Sashi Tharoor Was right!
In solidarity with all the cattle travelling in cattle class! I have always scoffed at people when then say that they dont have a confirmed ticket to travel between cities. Little did I realize that I too was about to be subjected to such a treatement. Boy! I'd like to take Momta watever on this helluva ride from Bombay to Madras(Dare ask me change it to Mumbai!!! #$@#$). Well to begin with, as Devil would know, I had a proper ticket and a trip charted out. I love to plan a travel and I did it with great care, never letting my unsuspecting grand-aunt know that I am coming down for my grand-uncle's Sadhabhishekam (80th bday celebrations). But I guess God and Momta "Ban Her"jee (yes.. some one please ban her from running the Indian Railways) had other plans for us;unsuspecting train travellers.
I reached Dadar around 7:30 PM for the 8:30 PM train. I quickly settled down on the side lower that was allocated to me,stowing my luggage beneath the seat. In less than a minute that I had bent down to place my bags, the entire compartment was suddenly buzzing with activity.. and a whole herd of pilgrims just blindly rushed into to compartment and threw their belongings and themselves where ever they could see an inch of space. Before I knew, the side lower, where I had just royally reclined, was filled with 4 people including me! Well... for people who have seen me, they would know that I can sit on a whole seat myself. Adjusting my bulk against 3 more people with others sitting on the carriage floor is a nightmare. I should have changed to my shorts before I left office that evening. I told Riyaz, my teammie that I'll change when I get into the
train. Well.. that just remained a dream. I sat through my journey in my ducking (well replace and read it with the right alphabet) formals all through, barely managing to retract my belt when I tucked myself on the side upper berth. I had skillfully extracted my baggage from underneath the seat and put it up next to me in the upper berth. I could hardly fit
myself into the berth with this luggage.
Well, before I managed this, I should tell you the plight of the pantry car guys.. they closed shop because they couldnt walk through this sea of people!! And with it went my dinner!!! I was really tempted to have the Motichur ladoos I had got for my people.. but with three more people looking ready to pounce on what ever is offered, I put that thought aside. The wafer thin pizza I had along with my friends that evening was slowly slipping into oblivion and the grinder that my stomach is, started
making the wrong noises. Oh the worst part? My bladder was full and the belt was pressing into it! I jumped, hopped and skipped three side Upper berths and landed near the bathroom. Well this was when we had just crossed Pune at 12:03 AM...I realized that it must be cold outside coz the moment I let myself out, I could see vapours coming out of the closet... and here I was.. in my baniyans and formal pant with bathroom slippers and SWEATING!! Morons.. they had switched off the fans and closed down the windows and doors!! WTH!!
I was sure tat I will run into a TCSer during trip and I was right! A guy in the upper berth in the same coupe as me started noticing my difficulties and introduced himself as Anand from Powai TCS... heading to chennai. We started talking and despite all these difficulties we were laughing at our own predicament. By the time I came back from the bathroom, my berth was taken. I had to sit with those ppl for a good 3 hours before I could kick them out.My legs and arms thanked me profusely for allowing them to stretch finally. Guess it was 4-5 AM when I was able to lie down. And forget sleeping.. the lights were on full and no fans and I was sweating. I guess I would have been the happiest that night if our train had derailed!!!
In the morning, Anand and myself woke up and had a decent breakfast of idlis and medu vada. We had the same fear that if the train passed through the probable telengana, it spelt trouble. But after the way we were travelling, we were okay with them attacking us if they will!! Such was the frustration level!! After breakfast, he offered me his berth to sleep. By then my eyes were soggy and legs had already balooned. I readily accepted it and slept for an hour. I hardly knew how it went by! We
were hoping that the TTE will come and help us with the berths.. zilch. He made a Superstar entry at 12:08 PM when we were about to reach Renigunta. We muttered the juiciest profanity under our breaths when offering our tickets for inspection. He would have killed himself 10 times over if had even heard a word or two of what we said!!
At Renigunta, 1/4th of the train got down and finally, finally we had some way of letting down our feet. It felt like heaven.I was in no mood to change to shorts.. I didn't see the point in changing so late. And some 8 hours later, we reached Chennai Egmore half dead!
The very sight of Chennai brought fresh blood into my system. A hot water bath laced with Volini gel took away some pain from my battered body. I sms'd Devil telling him that I now resembled "a harried broiler chicken" being transported in tightly packed cages from the coop to the shop!
Let people say whatever about Sashi Tharoor's tweet.... we faced it!! I guess even those harried broiler chicken have a better transportation system in place!